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Lost in the Wilds

The door was banged up behind Uncle Caleb and Bowkett


"That is a feint," thought Mr. De Brunier. "They have not seen us yet. When they do, the tug comes. Two against twenty at the very least, unless we hear the sledge-bell first. It is a question of time. The clock is counting life and death for more than one of us. All hinges on my Gaspe. Thank God, I know he will do his very best. There is no mistrust of Gaspe; and if I fall before he comes, if I meet death in endeavouring to rescue this fatherless boy, the God who sees it all, in whose hand these lawless hunters are but as grasshoppers, will never forget my Gaspe."

The report of Bowkett's gun roused old Caleb's latent fire.

"What is it?" he demanded. "Are the Indians upon us? Where is Miriam?"

Wilfred threw the bearskin across his feet over the old man's back.

"I am here!" cried Bowkett, with an ostentatious air of protection. "I'll defend the place; but the attack is at this end of the house. First of all, I carry you to Miriam and safety at the other."

Bowkett, in the full pride of his strength, lifted up the feeble old man as if he were a child and carried him out of the room.

"Wilfred, my boy, keep close to me, keep close," called Uncle Caleb; but a strong man's hand seized hold of Wilfred and pulled him back.

"Who are you?" demanded Wilfred, struggling with all his might. "Let me go, I tell you; let me go!"

The door was banged up behind Uncle Caleb and Bowkett. The room was full of men.

Wilfred knew too well the cry of "Thieves" was all humbug--a sham to get him away from his uncle.

"Forgill! Forgill!" he shouted. "Pete! Pete! Help me! help me!"

A pillow was tossed in his face.

"Don't cram the little turkey-cock with his own feathers," said a voice he was almost glad to recognize, for he could not feel that Mathurin would really hurt him. He kicked against his captor, and getting one hand free, he tried to grasp at this possible friend; but the corner of the pillow, crushed into his mouth, choked his shouts. "So it's Mathurin's own old babby, is it?" continued the deep, jovial voice. "Didn't I tell ye he was uncommon handy with his little fists? But he is a regular mammy's darling for all that. It is Mathurin will put the pappoose in its cradle. Ah! but if it won't lie still, pat it on its little head; Batiste can show you how."

In all this nonsense Wilfred comprehended the threat and the caution. His frantic struggles were useless. They only provoked fresh bursts of merriment. Oh, it was hard to know they were useless, and feel the impotency of his rage! He was forced to give in. They bound him in the sheets.

Mathurin was shouting for--

"A rabbit-skin, To wrap his baby bunting in.


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